Bridgette Radebe is a South African businesswoman and is recognised as the first black female mining entrepreneur. She is the founder and executive chairperson of Mmakau Mining Limited, a company she began in the 80s.
Generally, Bridgette has over 3 decades of experience in the mining industry. She also sit as the President of SA largest mining chamber – the South African mining Development Association.
Bridgette Radebe Early Life
Bridgette Motsepe-Radebe was born on February 26, 1960, of the Tswana descent. She attended the University of Botswana between 1973 – 1977. She was born into an entrepreneurial family during the apartheid era, at a time when the blacks could not hold mining licences and own mining rights.
Owing to this, her parents had to fight oppressive rules against businessmen and this fueled her spirit of economic activism. Similarly, she defied legislation and entered into the mining industry, thereby becoming the first black female South African deep-level-hard rock mining entrepreneur.
Radebe started out as a common miner in the 1980s. Then, her company was managing individual shaft mining operations and producing materials for the larger mine operations in South Africa. At the time, she was also acquiring the relevant skills and expertise to build her own business.
Bridgette Radebe Personal Life
She is married to Jeffrey Radebe, a South African politician and Minister of Energy who was appointed on February 26, 2018 by Cyril Ramaphosa. Also, she is a sister to Patrice Motsepo and Tshepo Motsepe. Patrice is a South African businessman and Tshepo is the First Lady of South Africa.
Together with Jeffrey, she has three children, Vukani, Malaika and Mandisa Radebe.
Firstly, venturing into the mining industry was a record-breaking point for Bridgette. Then, from being a contract miner, she moved to own a mine and establishing her own company, Mmakau Mining (pty) Limited.
Mmakau is a pioneering mining company with interest in platinum, gold, uranium, coal, ferrochrome and exploration asset. It was launched in 1986 and has grown into one of most significant mining companies in Africa.
It was established with the aim to contribute expertise with a business philosophy of sustainable wealth creation through targeted procurement, entrepreneur development, skills enhancement as well as soico-economic development.
Also, Mmakau is known for its ethical business approach of striking a balance between profits, shareholder value, investors and sustainable mining communities in South Africa.
Aside from being the executive chairperson of Mmakau, Bridgette also sits on other positions. Some of which are;
- Member and Office Bearer of the Black Business Council, BBC
- Founder and board of trustee member of the New Africa Mining Fund
- Founder and President of the South African Mining Development Association
- Former Vice Chairman of the Minerals and Mining Development Board that advises the Minister of Minerals and Energy
- Member, Sappi Board
- Member, BRICS Business Council, 2019
Awards And Recognition
- International Businessperson of the Year Award, Global Foundation for Democracy, 2008
- Pioneer in Mining Award, South African Ministry of Minerals and Energy
- Mababongwe: Renaissance Woman Award, University Durban-Westville.
- The Onkgopotse Tiro Excellence Awards, Limpopo University, 2010
- One of the Africa’s Richest Women, Forbes, 2011
- Ten Female Millionaires to Watch in Africa, Forbes, 2012
- Africa’s Most Richest Women Top 20, Forbes Africa, 2012
- Africa’s Most Powerful Businesswomen, African Business Review, 2015
- Nominee African Business Woman of the Year, Global African Business Awards, 2018
Bridgette Radebe Quotes
“The political emancipation is in the majority of the people but the economic power is not in the majority…”
“Let me tell you a secret. If you want loads of money… then give out money, I have never seen a giver lack.”
“Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.”
“…Without the training, people cannot be promoted.”
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is how important it is to have a mentor when you start your business. There is knowledge I would not have had access to if it weren’t for my mentors.”
“Enjoy your own life without comparing it with that of others. We’re running a different race.”
“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does, keep going.”
“I have a new theory in life… what others may think of me is truly none of my business.”
Entrepreneurial Lessons From Bridgette Radebe
In an interview, Radebe emphasized that her motivation is beyond financial results, rather her goal is more of how her business transforms the community.
According to her, “mine is not simply a hole in the ground, but often times helps to develop rural communities by bringing goods and services such as running water and electricity to that community.” This way, her drive is more of giving back to the community than financial gain.
In a business, the importance of result-orientation is limitless. For instance, a result- oriented organisation focuses more on the outcome of their product rather than the process. This way, once you have your vision and objectives in mind, you can identify major steps on how to achieve them in time.
According to Bridgette, the importance of having a business mentor cannot be overemphasized. In her words, “the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is how important it is to have a mentor when you start your business. There is knowledge I would not have had access to if it weren’t for my mentors.”
Successful young entrepreneurs today have once drunk from the wealth of knowledge of veteran businessmen who they refer to as mentors. Having walked the journey ahead, they can give advice on how to develop strengths, guide on needed skills and knowledge, and even show you avoidable pitfalls and many more. Undoubtedly, their impact can accelerate your business growth process.
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